Two of the most important words in improv are “Yes, and…”
To keep a scene going, you always have to agree.
Confession time: I have always wanted to try acting. I don’t mean on the big screen, but stage theater always seemed like an amazing thing to do. One problem, my nerves would never let me audition for anything. In high school, I would see plays that I wanted to be a part of, but those nerves…If I have any regrets, it would be not auditioning for any productions.
As I got older, I learned of my town’s Community Theater and that little acting bug, never having a chance to bite me, would poke it’s head out and I would shoo it away and keep it moving.
It wasn’t until, about a month and a half ago, I read an article in my local newspaper about an award-winning playwright named Silvia Gonzalez-Scherer offering free acting classes in downtown Hanford. I felt that acting bug again and seriously thought about letting it bite me. I kept rereading the article, “every Wednesday,” it said. I told a couple of people around me that I wanted to go, but in the back of my head I kind of figured that I’d do what I tend to do when I get uncomfortable: flake out. But, that next Wednesday rolled around and I got my things together (and my courage) and I went to the class.
There were about 15 people there of all age ranges, including the director of the next play that was being produced by the King’s Players (Kings County’s local community theater). Great. Like I needed that kind of pressure. Anyway, a series of voice projection and improv exercises followed as well as some script reading.
I’m a visual learner, so I always want to see someone do something first before I try it. But this time, I was getting ridiculous…I was usually the last to volunteer for things because well, when you’re the last one, it’s not a choice anymore.
I looked at the clock and saw that time was going by so slow, I wasn’t sure if I could keep going. But the next week came and I was there and have been there every Wednesday for the past five weeks. Now the time flies by. There have been 2 times that I have been the only one to show up, but a couple of free private lessons are alright with me.
I have met and have become more comfortable with a great group of people, a few of whom are active in one of the community college’s theaters. I envy them for starting young, but I told myself that this year was the one for me to start living outside of my comfort zone. I’m determined to try new things and not let fear get in the way of what I want to do.
Even though I still get nervous to get up and perform in front of people, I feel that with each class, the nervousness lessens and I can really put what I’m learning to use.
It is Silvia’s dream to develop a multicultural theater company in our little town that is so desperate for some culture and liveliness. I would love to be able to be a part of this when it gets off of the ground.
So my life’s new mantra? “Yes, and…” Let’s keep this scene going.
Thank you for reading,